By Jeff Ray

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The most popular flowering tree across the south and in North Texas is the Crepe Myrtle. The plant is native to China but you wouldn’t know that driving around this area. It seems that just about every yard as a least one if not a row of versatile tree. The blooms come in a range of colors but perhaps the most versatile thing about the plant is the variety of sizes it comes in. You can grow a full grown tree or just a low bush.

Some years ago a trend started with Crepe Myrtle trimming that needs to be stopped. It is called “Crepe Murder”, it is actually called “Pollarding”. People shear off the top of the tree, basically giving it a crew cut. The thought is to increase the number of flowers the tree produces and get the canopy a little fuller. This is not the plant to do that on. One of the more attractive traits of this tree is its small cluster of long, twisting trunks that rise into a semi-sparse canopy and summer flowers. The plant is very elegant with its simple yet full lines. If you chop your tree in half it will spend every winter keeping the plant is check with extra limbs.

However, if you are prudent and patient with the plant you end up with the classic Crepe Myrtle look. Watch the video to get the trimming tips, you want to do this in the winter when the plant is dormant. Basically you are limiting the number of trunks coming out of the ground, picking the cleanest lines and even spacing. You need to trim out any branches that are rubbing against each other. If you can do this the first three of four years of the plant’s life you will end up with long, even trunks with a thick, flowering canopy at its crown.

One of the great attributes of the tree is of course its beautiful summer flowers. What a visual treat in hottest days of the year.